Sunday, June 20, 2010

When God Calls do you sometimes want to hang up?

Team McManus is on the run again. No, not as in on the run away from the law but literally on the run. I have a beautiful new friend, Laurel Labdon, who I met at the Exceptional Women Luncheon. She and Candy O'Terry, co host of the award winning Exceptional Women Show on Boston's # 1 FM Radio Station Magic 106.7 are pictured above. I knew there was something special as soon as we connected but had no idea, yet again, the path that would unfold because of our meeting. Laurel invited me to do a poetry reading at her Studio on Slough Road at the August 14th opening reception and asked me to do a book signing at one of the receptions for the 2011 season. But that is not all, oh no that is not all (quoting The Cat in the Hat).

I 'just happened' to see on Facebook that Laurel was looking for a runner for the Falmouth Road Race. She had two numbers and needed two runners to raise $400 in exchange for having the opportunity to run in the Falmouth Road Race. When I looked at the race info, I saw that there is a pretty stringent time limit. I learned that I don't need that kind of stress in my life! It just 'so happened' that my husband needed me to pick him up at work midday because he had a computer emergency and needed the car. I asked him if he would be interested in running Falmouth. It's always been a dream of his. But what if we can't get a hotel room, do we have the money to pay for this, how are we going to raise the money in just two months? I was going to hang up on God calling.

My husband said go for it so I booked our hotel room at one of our favorite places in Falmouth and told Laurel it was a go. If you noticed the date of my poetry reading in Brewster on the Cape is 8/14 and guess when the run is? August 15th so it makes for a wonderful weekend vacation. When it comes to spending money for other people, I just do it. When it comes to giving to me - well let's just say I am working on it. I began to feel overwhelmed. After all, I am raising funds to help get a steady stream of funding for Hope Charitable Trust. Aren't I taking away from one to give to the other and then this morning during my meditation, God spoke "There is abundance for all. Team McManus is paying it forward in many ways and you can let your friends and acquaintances know about the amazing, wonderful work you are doing."

I did a lot of journaling these past two days. With the changes and transitions in our household with our daughter now on her own, with Fathers Day as well as some other triggers from the Universe, I have had a blessed opportunity to heal some wounds. I wrote and prayed and read and talked with my wonderful husband. On our run yesterday, we were inspired to come up with an idea for a yard sale as a fund raiser. We clean out what we don't need, offer some of our treasures to others and raise money for his run. As we did when we did our Race for Rehab, we have an opportunity to bring the community together for a great cause. Oh my goodness, I forgot to tell you about this cause - silly me.

Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, a non-profit, grassroots program of achievement, advocacy and opportunity for the mobility impaired in Massachusetts. The mission of the Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Program is to provide through a chosen representative an opportunity for women of achievement who utilize wheelchairs to successfully educate and advocate for individuals with disabilities and influence social change for all Massachusetts residents. Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts carries out this mission by educating leaders and local communities by promoting awareness, advocacy and change in public policy for individuals with physical disabilities.

I continue to Pay it Forward and have many exciting Events happening this summer and fall. So when God calls, I answer. When I get still and listen to the promptings of my heart, God provides for everything that is needed.

I know that you will help us to pay it forward. You can make a donation for Tom's Falmouth Road Race run by visiting the website for Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts and in the instructions on paypal just make a note your donation is for Tom McManus.

I am so filled with joy that I can share with you another wonderful cause that is working to help others who face physical challenges in their lives. I am so blessed to know the beginning of a beautiful friendship with a beautiful woman, Laurel Labdon whose quote on her email says it all, "We do less than we ought unless we do all that we can."

God bless and be well
With love,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In the beginning there was a blank page

In the beginning there was a blank page, only I did not know about blank pages growing up in a chaotic household. I only knew about reacting to crises and trying to survive. When the Universe hit me with the proverbial 2 x 4 in the guise of post polio syndrome, a progressive neurological disease, I discovered the joy of the blank page. Immersing myself in 'New Age' teachers, I learned that I had the power to create my life. My future was not based on the past and I had the opportunity to create a new world for myself.

A blank page for some is daunting. Where do I begin to write, to express myself? Who am I? Where is my voice and do I have something meaningful to say? My blank page was filled before I realized I had a blank page on which to write. As I sat in the dark winter of February 2007, contemplating my future, the poem "Running the Race" flowed out of me. The poems which followed came from a place of stillness. Still waters do run deep. I had to keep blank pages with me at all times and they were quickly filled. Wherever I was, God spoke to me and my pen wrote. I did not know that I was writing a book. I only knew that on the wings of poetry, my spirit soared. I imagined myself feeling free, dancing free, being free despite using a wheelchair at times for mobility, using a leg brace and a cane and needing a wrist splint. Do you know the song, "Dancing Through Life" from Wicked? That became my theme song and I'd listen to it before physical therapy sessions. "Defying Gravity" from Wicked was another theme song I adopted. I was giving birth to myself and learning how to love myself for the first time in my life.

These books of inspirational poetry are God's gift to me. I love sharing this gift with others. I am overjoyed with the feedback I receive from my readers. Recently I have been very busy getting ready to launch "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry" and forgot about my first baby, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World." God spoke through three of my readers to remind me to be attentive to both of my babies.

"Your life story is incredible, and just to let you know, I have started reading the copy of New World Greetings, that you gave to my mum, your poetry is beautiful". This was written by a teen ager who chose to interview me for her Young Journalist Award submission.

"Gently set aside in life what's not for my highest good
Eliminate regrets and doubts~eliminate the should" excerpting from "Recipe for a Relationship"
Mary McManus You are an amazing gift, a talented poet and a beautiful woman of much wisdom. Thanks for giving me words to live by. I love the book!" Thank you to Susan for taking the time to post this on my Facebook wall!

I received an email from the photographer who did my author photo. I sent him a complimentary copy of my book as a thank you for creating a wonderful portrait. He gave me permission to use it on my website and for other promotional purposes. He told me that his wife chose to read one of the poems from "New World Greetings" at the memorial service of her father.

Receiving feedback
from my readers of how my poetry has touched their hearts and lives is the icing on the cake. Writing the poetry has been a powerful healing force in my life. I am so grateful to God for this gift entrusted to me. I have many wonderful upcoming Events at which I will be sharing my journey and my gift of poetry. I hope you will be able to join me. You can purchase my books of inspirational poetry through my website. Be sure to browse the samples of original poetry I create just for you at New World Greeting Cards where It's More than a Card, It's a Gift From The Heart!

I look forward to sharing my gifts with you.

What will you write on the blank page of your life today?

God bless and be well
With love,

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better."

I was listening to the Unstoppable Frankie Picasso show with her guest Madeleine Herrmann, a woman who wrote a novel as part of her healing journey about her husband who committed suicide. She attributes part of her healing to the teachings of Emile Coue who said, "Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better." I've used this phrase many times in my healing journey with post polio syndrome. This is the first time I heard who had said it.

Emile Coue was a pioneer in the field of autosuggestion and hypnotherapy applying these techniques to helping people heal from their medical afflictions. He asserted the placebo effect as he would dispense medications as a pharmacist, praising the efficacy of the medications he dispensed. He was the first to say that he did not heal patients but helped them to find their own paths to heal.

Healing is not the same as a cure and Emile Coue asserts that there are limitations to what the organic body can achieve. I believe that there is no limit to healing. Healing is a state of being. Healing is the belief that no matter what the challenge, it can be met with strength, grace and fortitude and transformed by the power of God's Love. I began to heal when I loved myself in a brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility, needing a wrist splint; my body was terribly deconditioned and I had tremors of the head and hands. My body responded to my love song which I sang through the inspirational poetry I wrote after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome. I still have tremors; I experience fatigue and pain and sometimes I have a good old fashioned pity party that I ever contracted paralytic polio and now deal with the symptoms of post polio syndrome. I think about Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life and how Clarence the angel shows him what would have happened had he never been on earth. I reflect on all the people's lives I have touched because I have had the courage to share my story. It was no accident that Madeleine Herrmann was the guest on Frankie's show; it was an opportunity for me to revisit an old wound that needed healing; the wound of my father's suicide when I was only 17 years old.

And then, it is all magically transformed through the power of an attitude of gratitude, seeing what I have created which would never have been possible had I not had polio and post polio syndrome and feeling God's grace at work in my life. My eyes are open to signs of grace which abound and unfold in my life. My heart is open to the messages of Love God sends me as I write poetry. I meet the most beautiful people who have overcome challenges with grace, dignity and a fiery passion to transform the challenges into blessings for others. I meet spiritual teachers from whom I learn and I am a teacher to others. It is after all, a Wonderful Life and every day in every way I am getting better and better.

I am so excited about running the Charles River Run and the Harvard Pilgrim 10K road races. I've been training hard and getting myself in the best physical and psychological shape I can be in. It does not matter that others may whiz by me; I'm out there running my race.

I'll be an inspirational speaker at Boston GreenFest 2010 the weekend of August 19-21 talking about health and wellness strategies. I must make sure that I practice what I preach-smile. I will also have a table for New World Greeting Cards. If you're in the Boston area I do hope you'll come by.

Do you spend hours searching for a greeting card that only comes close to what you want to say? Let New World Greeting Cards create an original poem to celebrate and commemorate that special occasion.

"New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" and "Set Sail for a New World" my books of inspirational poetry chronicling my healing journey with polio and post polio syndrome are available for purchase through my website. Remember I Pay it Forward
by donating 20% of book proceeds to two charities near and dear to my heart.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where Did My Parking Space Mojo Go?

When we attended the Boston Marathon Expo at the Hynes Convention Center, my husband drove around for a half an hour and finally found a space in a parking garage about a half mile away from the Convention Center. So when it came to attending this year's WHDH Health and Fitness Expo (which I have attended in 2008 and 2009), he suggested that he drop me off and pick me up. Being ever so confident in my parking space mojo, being able to manifest a parking space at will, I told him pishaw -- you relax, have your coffee, read your paper and off I went.

All of my usual spaces were taken so I began to ask God for guidance of where to go. With the Health and Fitness Expo. a Red Sox game, Celtics playoff and people moving it seemed that every available parking space in the city was taken. Part of me knew that God had a plan in all of this and I would arrive at the Expo exactly when I was meant to but part of me was getting pretty ticked off. I saw a car leaving and then a car up ahead pulling right in. I tried to fit into one space that was too small only to see a car pull out ahead of me and someone else pull in. I thought maybe the vibration I'm putting out about lack and limitation and my fear of being left out, not getting to some place on time (a leftover from my polio days) was responsible for this. The more I tried to relax and let go, the more frustration I felt until I said, 'Self - let it go -- call your husband and see if you can go home and he'll drive you in.' I called and had to listen to an I told you so and then the song came on the radio, "Keep on Looking". Hmmm okay but where am I gonna look and then the aha moment -- park in a metered space on Beacon Street and walk to the Convention Center.

As I was walking I gave thanks to God that I could walk and had this option. Although it was cloudy, there was no rain and from our training runs I knew I could duck into the Commonwealth Hotel to use the um facilities. I kept telling myself - all is happening exactly as it should and you are not going to miss out on anything. Just relax.

My first stop - to see my friend Matt Lorch, anchor and news reporter for Channel 7. There was a short line (usually the lines are so long to meet the anchors and reporters) and I presented Matt with a copy of my book, "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry" as an expression of my appreciation for the love and support Channel 7 has given me and my journey. (You can go to my You Tube channel and also see the Health Cast report they did last year). He is a truly genuine, caring individual overflowing with kindness and love. After I gave him the book and went on to meet Christa Decamp (who had done the intro for the Health Cast story), this woman taps me on the shoulder and said, "I have to buy a copy of your book. Matt just told me about your story." And we talked about God in our lives and exchanged information.

Onto seeing Frances Rivera who was doing The Dish - healthy eating. I was directed to sit in the front row and began chatting to the gentleman next to me. Guess what? He is in the process of building a hospital in Africa and is planning to build mobile clinics to help the villagers in the bush. I shared with him my vision for Hope Charitable Trust . He took my card and told me he would send me an email with all of his information. They are also developing a model for health insurance on a sliding fee scale. He is also committed to solar and wind power and sustainability. I enjoyed watching the executive chef for Mass. General Hospital (yes they now use executive chefs in hospitals) prepare an incredible feast before our eyes and gave Frances a hug, letting her know that I gave Matt a copy of my book to share with her! She commented on how wonderful I looked and as she always does, told me to stay well and sweet!

As I was getting ready to leave I saw a line of people and asked what it was for. People were waiting to meet Michael Ventrella and his mother, Maria of The Biggest Loser Season 9. I decided to share how I am always inspired by the running of the marathon which caps off the season and shared my story with them, handing Maria my business card. You never know....

So where did my parking space mojo go? Nowhere -- everything unfolded exactly as it was meant to unfold. Had I found a parking space sooner I would not have met the woman in line, I would not have sat next to the man at The Dish and would not have met Michael and Maria. I have no idea where these connections will lead but I do know it is always better to choose to Trust in the Divine Plan than to collapse into a state of anger and frustration. I also do not know what was happening that I was not supposed to be a part of in my quest for my parking space. There were many reasons for the seeming delay. I happened to witness a few of them which were visible but so much happens beyond what the eye can see.

Do you enjoy feeling uplifted and inspired? Do you need to immerse yourself in words of healing, love, light, gratitude and overcoming life's challenges? Then my books of inspirational poetry are just for you! I believe in paying it forward. 20% of book proceeds are donated to two charities near and dear to my heart.

Wondering what to do to celebrate and commemorate all those amazing celebrations this summer? Well look no further. Let New World Greeting Cards put into words what only you can say -- all from the comfort of your own home!

Blessings to you all and thanks for sharing life's journey with me

With love,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Letting Go, Letting God

First of all -- a disclaimer. I don't have an entirely empty nest. I have a beautiful animal companion, Alex aka Alex da cat dude. When my son did relief work in the lower ninth two years ago in New Orleans they heard meowing in the attic at Common Ground, the volunteer house where he was living. Common Ground had adopted a dog, Chopper and a Katrina cat. My son was planning to bring home Chopper to give him a permanent home but after hearing the meowing in the attic, the volunteers discovered that the Katrina cat had given birth to a litter of kittens. There was no way they could stay there; my son and his friend each took one of the kittens. My son named him Alex after an anarchist leader (whose name escapes me now). My daughter and husband dubbed him Alex da cat dude and since he rules the house, we call him King Alex (and even have that name inscribed on his ID tag). (In case you are wondering, my son moved out a year ago April to follow his own path).

Yesterday, Alex manifested a sign for me. It was raining yesterday morning but he still wanted to go outside. I expected when he returned he would be soaking wet. When he came back in he was moew'ing and meow'ing so I thought he wanted a pick up to be dried off. When I picked him up, he was completely dry. God sent me another sign last night. I'd been in and out of the kitchen several times yesterday. I'm a little OCD especially during times of change and transition so I notice things that are 'out of place'. While I was vacuuming last night, something was moving around on the floor refusing to be vacuumed up. I looked closer and it was a nickel. It had not been there all day or I would have noticed! God is letting me know that there are mysteries and miracles abounding all around me. I only need to let go and let God.

This morning's Daily Word is Divine Order.

"God is divine order. The spiritual universe, from which all the material universe springs, is orderly. Order is its essence. Spirit is everlasting, unchanging and unchangeable." ... "I keep my thoughts in order by refusing to dwell on any but harmonious thoughts. I refuse to let fear or doubt or discouragement derail my thinking. I achieve order in my life by affirming that I am in harmony with divine order, directed and guided by it."

During this morning's meditation I realized that part of the tears I cried yesterday were for myself. What a contrast between the way I left for college in September 1971 and the way my daughter left for Tennessee. My father had spent all of my college savings. He had chosen to end his life a month before I was leaving for Boston University. I was carrying the trauma from years of abuse and the baggage of a polio survivor. My mother, herself a trauma survivor and dealing with many medical issues which led her to become addicted to prescription painkillers was not able to provide any emotional support. In fact, I would commute on weekends from Boston to help her settle my father's mess and take care of her parents who had begun to slip into dementia. God was there all along and despite the seeming chaos, everything was as it should be. Everything was in Divine Order. Thank God for my brother. Up until this moment, I had not realized the important role he played in my life during that critical time. And right in this moment I realize the significance of the nickel. Five. There were four people in our family but God's Love and constant Presence through it all made for five.

The sun is shining this morning. It is a new day. Every day is a new day, a new beginning and I let go and let God guide my day. It would be easy to clutter my day with things to do, calling people, busying myself to distract myself from the grieving process of having sent my beautiful daughter off to Tennessee. It is gentle grief today unlike the wracking pain of yesterday. Not having someone around who has been a part of my life for 23 years creates a feeling of sadness. I just let the little ripples come and go and can smile and know that God is right here. There is a bird singing loudly this morning - a call to go outside and be one with God as I go on a run to start the engines of my physical body and see where Spirit leads me this day.

I've been blessed with the gift of inspirational poetry which has helped me to heal mind, body and spirit -- I'd love to share my gift with you. You can order "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" and "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry" through my website New World Greetings.

After you order your autographed, signed copy of my books, browse the samples of original poetry I create through New World Greeting Cards and celebrate and commemorate with a one of a kind poem.

Be sure to check out my News and Events page to see what's next for me in my new world.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Waves of Weather

From the mid west, to the mid-Atlantic states to New England (where I live) everyone has been talking about the weather. There have been waves of severe weather -- one minute the sun is shining and the next, the dark clouds move in and the skies open to the sound of thunder claps and a spectacular lightning show. This weather pattern is a fitting backdrop to the emotions I have been experiencing for the past few weeks.

I am so blessed with a beautiful daughter who is leaving home to follow her heart and her dreams. I am so grateful for the opportunities that have opened before her and what she has created. I am so proud of her receiving her associates degree and going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. I wrote about her going away party two weeks ago -- love filled our home as they paid tribute to the neighbor, friend, babysitter, marathon runner, student and beautiful Spirit. Kate Loving Shenk who writes the Daily Prayer Healing Blog commented on my comment on her post, "Mary Ruth Anne's leaving is traumatic - say it like it is".

Just as we have no control over the weather, I can only go with the waves of emotions during this time. There are times when the pangs of separation are intense. I realized today that we are each giving birth to our new selves. When once we had this rhythm of living together (and to be honest it was not always a picnic for either one of us) we are now pursuing our own hopes and dreams as two women. And while we were doing this while we lived together -- this is a new chapter -- an exciting time -- an exhilarating adventure and I am so blessed to have such fullness of joy in my life with my business, my marriage, my friends, my neighobrhood, my gift of poetry and the opportunities which unfold before me. But there are no short cuts when going through a life transition.

The sun -- I love my life and I am so grateful for the bounty of blessings since I left my full time job at the VA 3 years ago. I love my solitude and am so blessed to have so many friends both in my life and in cyber space. My life is overflowing with the gift of poetry and spiritual resources to help me keep awake. My daughter graduated with high honors and we had several weeks of celebrations, going away dinners, last trips to her favorite places. She leaves with confidence, a wonderful network of friends waiting to support her when she arrives in Nashville, a car, a drivers license, seed money and most important above all of these the love and support of her family and friends back home and love, generosity and a kind Spirit. She lives from her heart.

The storm -- winds of change, a different rhythm, the loss of a weekday running partner, someone to take a day trip with in the middle of the week on her day off, the love and laughter which filled our home every day, watching favorite TV shows together, watching You Tube videos, having dinner conversation with her, hearing her pace in her room while listening to her iPod and a thousand little things that a mother gets used to.

The sun -- how could I want anything else but for her to go and follow her dreams? This is how it is meant to be. And I will have time to focus on my business, my poetry, my spiritual growth; for decades I always had someone dependent on me. First I was caretaker in my family (my mom and her parents), then I was caretaker for my patients and along with caring for them, being the mother of twins. This is the first time in my life when I have time for me -- to take care of myself mind, body and spirit. It is a wonderful liberating feeling to know that my work as a mother is complete. Our relationship will transform and grow and it will never be the same as when she lived at home.It will evolve into something more wonderful.

The storm -- and part of what makes this time especially traumatic for me has nothing to do with my daughter. It has to do with something that happened on August 1, 1971. Interestingly enough for the five days prior to August 1, 1971 there were waves of severe weather. That was the time that my father was missing and he left a suicide note. This is a blessed opportunity for me to to heal the wounds from a father's suicide. I feel an incredible strength to feel the pain of abandonment and to have it transformed with God's Love. My husband is driving my daughter's car to Nashville. He will be back late tomorrow night. I could have gone with them (no not really because I can't sit in a car for long periods of time with post polio syndrome and would not be able to help with the driving because when I drive for over an hour I begin to experience a flare of cervical spine disease) but it was not meant to be. This is something that I need to experience - and in the solitude, in the trauma of separation for a joyous occasion, I can feel God's Love bathe a wound that has needed healing. I was supposed to meet friends for lunch tomorrow but came to the realization that I need to take this time to just let my feelings be. In between bouts of crying and smiles and laughter and joy, I am attending to all that which brings me joy -- my business, my poetry, sharing my gift of poetry with my readers, planning a charity road race, preparing for upcoming events...but it is not only about the doing -- it is about the being and getting into a whole new rhythm of being without the demands of motherhood. It is about feeling my connection with God and that Source of Love that heals all.

The photos above were taken the evening of my daughter's awards dinner at her college as we drove home. Traffic was backed up for the way we usually go and my husband decided to take a different route. As I saw the sun shining while the rain was pouring I said, "Where's the rainbow?" He said, "look ahead -- we wouldn't have seen it if the traffic would not have been backed up." My daughter took these photos -- and so I know that after the storm, there is always the rainbow -- a reminder of God's Love.

I've been blessed with the gift of inspirational poetry which has helped me to heal mind, body and spirit -- I'd love to share my gift with you. You can order "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" and "Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry" through my website New World Greetings. Remember that 20% of book proceeds are donated to two causes near and dear to my heart!

After you order your autographed, signed copy of my books, browse the samples of original poetry I create through New World Greeting Cards and celebrate and commemorate with a one of a kind poem.

Be sure to check out my News and Events page to see what's next for me in my new world.